About 20 people who live or work around Bob Hope Airport were in attendance Thursday to provide input for a study aimed to produce a plan for improving transportation options in the area while also promoting development of hundreds of acres of underutilized property.
This public outreach meeting, held by airport and Burbank officials, was the first of three, with another slated for this fall followed by one next summer. Afterward, a final report is expected to be drafted.
Eric Banghart, a planner on the project team, said that while the airport has one Metrolink station nearby and another to be constructed soon, getting passengers to use public transit is a challenge.
"The airport is really well connected right now," he said. "But there are missing connections, [transit options] are more focused on commuters than people going to a flight."
Much of the study is focused on creating a plan for the so-called B6 parcel, a 58-acre lot owned by the airport that is earmarked for future development. The parcel is adjacent to the airfield, located to the north of the terminal building and east of the airport's main north-south runway. It has a half-mile frontage on Hollywood Way.
The study isn't limited to land owned by the airport, however. Airfield officials are looking at a total of 540 acres of underutilized land in the area, much of which is industrial space left vacant from the departure of the Lockheed aerospace company in the 1990s.
During the meeting's brainstorming sessions, some residents said they hoped to see that land used for a hotel and retail businesses that could attract travelers while also serving the local community.
As for transit, Paul Dyson, who is also chair of Burbank's Transportation Commission, suggested that Metrolink trains need to be better synced with the schedules of travelers and airport employees.
"People don't want to wait an hour for a train. They just won't do it," he said.
Patrick Prescott, a Burbank city planner working on the study, said his team is soliciting community input because they want to make the airport a hub for economic development and transit not just for travelers, but for the area as a whole.
"I think of a lot of people understand that the Burbank airport is a really unique asset that no other city in the area has," he said.